On February 12, The Directorate of Norwegian Correctional Service introduced new measures in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The new measures are in force until further notice.

In lieu of the current situation, KDI finds it unnecessary to have detailed instructions as regards to how prisons shall handle the current pandemic situation. Prisons must comply with local recommendations and instructions. When measures in municipalities change, prisons must assess to what extent adjustments must be made to their measures.

The aim of the measures is to prevent/reduce the risk for an outbreak within the correctional service, and to protect peoples` lives and health. 

Hotline for family members and relatives - (+47) 404 388 88

The Norwegian correctional service has established a hotline where relatives and family members of inmates and persons in custody can obtain general informattion about the Norwegian Correctional Service and also about the handling of the Corona crisis. 
 
You may be anonymous when you phone the hotline. The hotline is not meant for general questions about Covid-19. Such questions should be referred to official national channels established by the national health authorities. The hotline is not meant for questions concerning individuals or specific prisons. If needed, family members and relatives will be referred to the facility in question.

The hotline is open weekdays from 0900-1500.

Prisons in areas categorized as level A

In areas categorized as level A, all summons to prison for execution of sentence are suspended, if this is regarded as safe, based on individual assessments in each case, taking into consideration safety, the category of offence and the length of the sentence. 

Convicted persons from areas in level A shall not be summoned to prisons, unless regarded as safe from a security point of view, based on an individual assessment. This concerns all prisons in Norway. Security assessments must be made in each case, taking into consideration safety, the category of offence and the length of the sentence.

Convicted persons already summoned, and covered by the abovementioned measures, must be informed of that they will not be summoned to execute their sentences until further notice.

Intake of remand prisoners will continue.

Caution must be exercised in connection with visits. Visits can be refused due to the risk of infection. 

Caution must be exercised in connection with day leave and leave. Day leave and leaves can be refused due to the risk of infection.

Prisons in areas categorized as level B

Caution must be exercised in connection with visits. Visits can be refused due to the risk of infection.
Caution must be exercised in connection with day leave and leave. Day leave and leaves can be refused due to the risk of infection.

Prisons in areas categorized as level C

Caution must be exercised in connection with visits. Visits can be refused due to the risk of infection.
Caution must be exercised in connection with day leaves and leaves. Day leave and leaves can be refused due to the risk of infection.

Prisons in areas categorized as level D

Caution must be exercised in connection with visits. Visits can be refused due to the risk of infection.
Caution must be exercised in connection with day leaves and leaves. Day leave and leaves can be refused due to the risk of infection.

Measures in other parts of the country

Areas not categorized as levels A, B, C or D, the following measures apply:

Visits to inmates

The correctional service can refuse a visit to prison if there is a risk of infection or other health issues which cause concern, or if it will be challenging to organize the visit because of lack of staff in the prison. 

Leaves, escorted leave and day release

The correctional service can refuse to allow for leave or day release for an inmate, or change a permission already given, in case the leave or escorted leave is expected to imply a risk of infection, or danger for health. 

Day release: If the inmate is temporary released for to perform ordinary, paid work, units must try to avoid inmates risks losing the job because of restrictions.  

Escorted leaves can be carried out. When considering whether to grant escorted leave, factors such as the actual need for escorted leave, the infection rate and the staffing situation at the unit must be assessed. 

Vaccination of convicted persons, and applications for postponement of execution of sentence

Postponement of the execution of sentence can be considered if the convicted person has an appointment with healthcare providers to be vaccinated, especially if the first dose has been administered, and the convicted person is waiting for the second dose. 

In such cases, the application shall be thoroughly assessed. Factors that must be considered are the following: individuals’ situation, infection rate in the actual area, what form of execution of sentence the convicted person will receive, security measures, the length of the sentence and the category of offence.

Exclusion from company with other inmates as a measure to prevent infection

The Correctional service may, in certain cases, exclude inmates fully or partially from company with others if the following two conditions are met;

  1. There is a “decision pursuant to the Infection Control Act, stating that the inmate must be in isolation or in quarantine”, or that “an inmate has symptoms compatible with Covid 19.
  2. Exclusion is regarded as «necessary in order to prevent infection», and “exclusion is not considered to be a disproportionate measure”.

Compensating measures for inmates

The prisons shall, to the largest extent possible, offer inmates and convicted persons compensating measures, allowing them, among others, to keep contact with their family and relatives digitally. 

To the extent possible, the prisons should be flexible when it comes to telephone calls. KDI will ask the prisons to provide inmates with 20 minutes free telephone call time in the period January 05 to 18th, in addition to their regular call time. 

Other (compensating) measures might include allowing inmates to work at their cells, access to games, books etc. in the cell, as well as giving them extended time in fresh air and outdoor physical exercise.